By: Justin Felisko April 30, 2014@ 01:45:00 PM
Longmont, Colo., native Kody Lostroh is excited to ride in Colorado this weekend. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.
PUEBLO, Colo. ― It had been over three months since Kody Lostroh posted an 8-second ride score of over 85 points.
When Lostroh covered Spitball for 86.75 points Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, he showed a glimpse of the rider that won the 2009 World Championship, and the one that is normally in the top half of the world standings.
However, Saturday was also only Lostroh’s fifth ride of the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series.
Kody Lostroh rides Spitball for 86.75 points in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Andy Watson / BullStockMedia.com.
It simply hasn’t been the best of years for the Longmont, Colo., native. Injuries, missed events and a lack of success put a damper on an otherwise exciting and positive year for Lostroh, who welcomed his second daughter, Odessa, into the world on April 16.
However, this weekend’s Rumble in the Rockies at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs will offer Lostroh, who is competing thanks to one of his injury exemptions, an opportunity to build off his eighth-place finish in Des Moines in front of a supportive home-state crowd.
“It means a lot to me to have the home state behind me,” Lostroh said. “It always fires me up.”
The BFTS is returning to Colorado Springs – the original home of the PBR headquarters, before moving to its Pueblo offices in 2007 – for the first time since 2005, when Adriano Moraes won the first of two events that season in Colorado, the other being in Pueblo. Moraes has a PBR record three BFTS wins in Colorado Springs.
Lostroh went 1-for-5 that year in his only career appearance at World Arena.
He would become the first and only Coloradoan to win a world title four years later by edging J.B. Mauney for the gold buckle and its accompanying $1 million bonus in 2009. He posted career-highs in 90-point rides (13), wins (five), Top-5s (11) and Top-10s (17). Lostroh finished 2009 with $1,628.442.84 in earnings, which is more than he has made combined over the last five seasons ($492,876.75).
Lostroh has continued to live in his home state and owns a ranch in Greeley, Colo., which is just over two hours north of World Arena, where he has been working on building a 40-by-48-foot gym/training center.
His hometown of Longmont is 100 miles north of Colorado Springs, and is an easy hour-and-change drive away on Interstate 25.
The 28-year-old admits he has been asked many times about when he would possibly call it a career – he’s been riding in the PBR since he was 18 – and he simply replies, “I’m going to go until I don’t want to ride anymore, and then I will be done. That could be a year or it could be eight years. I don’t know.
“Like I said, I don’t know what is left in my career, but I want to enjoy it.”
Lostroh agrees that once he won the World Championship, his mentality definitely changed some. Yes, he is still a competitor, and, yes, he would love to win another title. Yet it simply isn’t a make-or-break mindset.
“Yeah, the motivation was a little different after that, because I reached the top and there was no higher to go,” he said. “It’s coming down to me more enjoying what I am doing and still being a competitor. It’s about enjoying the moment, as opposed to making the end result.”
2004 World Champion Mike Lee is in the thick of this year’s world title race, and he agrees things certainly have changed with his mindset a decade after winning his only World Championship.
“The older you get, and you’ve been around for a long time, you have to get back to the fundamentals and what you were like as a kid,” Lee said. “You appreciate the simple things in life more the older you get.”
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As this year has certainly proven to Lostroh, and a variety of other championship-caliber riders, it takes a lot for everything to go a rider’s way.
“It’s easy to have a good weekend, but it’s real hard to have a really good year,” he said. “It’s a little tougher for my body to do what it used to do when I was 22. It would be nice to have the experience that I do now with the body I had then.
“Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. We are all getting older.”
Still, Lostroh is finally beginning to feel healthy after dealing with two small fractures in his riding hand, and the Des Moines event may have been the start of a solid turnaround heading into the summer break. He begins this weekend 41st in the world standings.
Most of all, Lostroh will be one of the main fan favorites when he climbs into the Colorado Springs bucking chutes.
“To get another opportunity in Colorado Springs will be great,” Lostroh said. “It is always fun to have the whole state behind you. You always have people behind you, but when you have people behind you that you don’t even know that come and support you, it means a lot to us as riders.
“It pumps you up when they are around.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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